• Law,  Old Testament

    The Purpose of the Old Testament Law

    In a prior post, I mentioned that the Law needs to be read in its narrative context. In addition to being sensitive to the narrative context, we also need to evaluate the purpose of the Old Testament Law as it is portrayed in the Old Testament itself. This is an important first step in helping understand the differences that we see between the Old and New Testaments. The Law was never a means of salvation First, we need to adimently reaffirm that the Law is not portrayed as a standard for salvation. It is common for people to accuse dispensationalists of believing the Law was the means of salvation for Israel. I have spoken against this on multiple occasions, but if you are looking for an in depth treatment on the subject, John Feinberg wrote an excellent article on salvation in the Old Testament. Additionally, as I argued previously, the…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The OT Law in Its Narrative Context

    All too often we read sections of Exodus, Leviticus, or Deuteronomy without being sensitive to the surrounding narrative context. We need to remember that God’s giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was within a specific narrative, and we should understand the Law in light of that narrative. When we do so, we come away with the following observations. The narrative context shows the Law was not a legalistic standard to earn God’s favor. There is no reason to think Old Testament believers were saved by keeping the Law. In fact, when we look at the placement of the Law in the narrative, we see that God had already delivered Israel out of Egypt. The giving of the Law (e.g., Exod 19–24) took place after God had already demonstrated His saving relationship with Israel by delivering them (e.g., Exod 12–14). The Law was a precious gift to Israel to help…

  • Apologetics,  Scripture,  Textual Criticism

    New Evidence for the Validity of the Text in Our Bibles

    Two days ago, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Modern Technology Unlocks Secrets of a Damaged Biblical Scroll.” The sum of the story is as follows. Archaeologists found a badly damaged ancient scroll in En-Gedi around the Dead Sea in the 1970s. Until recently have been unable to read it due to its fragile condition. However, there is now a computer technology (spearheaded by the University of Kentucky) which allows this scroll (and others like it) to be read. This particular scroll has now been analyzed and contains the first two chapters of Leviticus. What is most amazing about the find, however, is that the experts who examined the scroll claim it is an exact match with the Masoretic text. The Mastoretic text refers to the Hebrew manuscripts which certain scribes, called the Masoretes, copied from the 6th to the 11th centuries. In other words, this En-Gedi scroll…